Eat Local: Restaurante Fabio Santana, Vegueta, Las Palmas, Gran Cararia, Canary Islands (Spain)

Restaurants line the street in Vegueta (Old Town), Las Palmas, the capital of Gran Canaria in the Canary Island

Restaurants line a street in Vegueta (Old Town), Las Palmas, the capital of Gran Canaria in the Canary Island

 

We embarked on this journey (heading down the west coast of Africa) in Las Palmas, Gran Cararia, Canary Islands (part of Spain) – our second visit there on the ship in 2018.  [See our previous blogs “Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Canary Islands (2018)”, “Eat Local: Las 6 Calabazas (tapas), Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Canary Islands”, and “Eat Local: Ô Soleil, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Canary Islands”].  The capital of Gran Canaria in the Canary Islands, Las Palmas is a major warm weather and beach tourist destination from Europe, especially in the winter months as visitors escape the colder weather on the Continent.  Narrow cobblestone streets, colorful buildings, and multiple architectural styles reflect centuries-old Atlantic and Latin American ties in Las Palmas’ oldest neighborhood, Vegueta (Old Town).  The old quarter offers much to visitors walking the streets — historic squares; Catedral de Santa Ana (Santa Ana Cathedral), the first church in the Canary Islands; tapas from outdoor cafés; shopping for fresh fish, meats, fruits and vegetables at Mercado de Vegueta; and dining and nightlife along Calle Mendizábal and Calle Pelota.

 

The restored entry-way to Restaurante Fabio Santana, Vegueta (Old Town), Las Palmas, Gran Cararia, Canary Islands

The restored entry-way to Restaurante Fabio Santana, Vegueta (Old Town), Las Palmas, Gran Cararia, Canary Islands

 

While we were perusing the menus, we were served the fixings for “bruschetta” – the garlic was rubbed onto the toasted bread, then some olive oil was poured on, then slices of toma

While we were perusing the menus, we were served the fixings for “bruschetta” – the garlic was rubbed onto the toasted bread, then some olive oil was poured on, then slices of tomato topped with sea salt and olive oil (delicious!) — Restaurante Fabio Santana, Vegueta (Old Town), Las Palmas, Gran Cararia, Canary Islands

 

We took advantage of our short time in port to visit a well-stocked HiperDino superpmercado (supermarket) and the local central produce and meat and fish market, Mercado de Vegueta in the old quarter (Vegueta).  With good friends from the ship, we ventured back to the narrow streets of Vegueta to have our main meal of the day mid-afternoon at Restaurante Fabio Santana on Calle Montesdeoca.  Since the time we enjoyed a wonderful luncheon there several years ago (the restaurant then was named Casa Montesdeoca), the restaurant has new ownership and a talented new chef and we very much enjoyed the new menu and Spanish-fusion cuisine reflecting influences from France, Italy and Japan. Note that the four of us dined family style, sharing all the courses pictured below (except the goat taco which served just one).  We highly recommend a luncheon or dinner there!

 

The dining tables are under the balcony of the courtyard at Restaurante Fabio Santana, Vegueta (Old Town), Las Palmas, Gran Cararia, Canary Islands

The dining tables are under the balcony of the courtyard at Restaurante Fabio Santana, Vegueta (Old Town), Las Palmas, Gran Cararia, Canary Islands

 

An appetizer of croquettes (left-to-right- ham, spinach and fish), Restaurante Fabio Santana, Vegueta (Old Town), Las Palmas, Gran Cararia, Canary Islands

An appetizer of croquettes (left-to-right: ham, spinach and fish), Restaurante Fabio Santana, Vegueta (Old Town), Las Palmas, Gran Cararia, Canary Islands

 

An appetizer of a goat taco, Restaurante Fabio Santana, Vegueta (Old Town), Las Palmas, Gran Cararia, Canary Islands

An appetizer of a goat taco, Restaurante Fabio Santana, Vegueta (Old Town), Las Palmas, Gran Cararia, Canary Islands

 

An appetizer of octopus terrine with potato salad, to be eaten with a touch of the olive oil sorbet, Restaurante Fabio Santana, Vegueta (Old Town), Las Palmas, Gran Cararia, Canary Islan

An appetizer of octopus terrine with potato salad, to be eaten with a touch of the olive oil sorbet, Restaurante Fabio Santana, Vegueta (Old Town), Las Palmas, Gran Cararia, Canary Islands

 

An appetizer of warm prawn salad, Restaurante Fabio Santana, Vegueta (Old Town), Las Palmas, Gran Cararia, Canary Islands

An appetizer of warm prawn salad, Restaurante Fabio Santana, Vegueta (Old Town), Las Palmas, Gran Cararia, Canary Islands

 

An appetizer of crab raviolis with basil-lime sorbet, Restaurante Fabio Santana, Vegueta (Old Town), Las Palmas, Gran Cararia, Canary Islands

An appetizer of crab raviolis with basil-lime sorbet, Restaurante Fabio Santana, Vegueta (Old Town), Las Palmas, Gran Cararia, Canary Islands

 

Following a delicious Spanish white wine from the Rioja region with the appetizers, we enjoyed an excellent Ribera del Duero red wine with our main courses, Restaurante Fabio Santana, Ve

Following a delicious Spanish white wine from the Rioja region with the appetizers, we enjoyed an excellent Ribera del Duero red wine with our main courses, Restaurante Fabio Santana, Vegueta (Old Town), Las Palmas, Gran Cararia, Canary Islands

 

A main course of pureed potatoes, several kinds of fresh mushrooms, soft eggs and crumbles and chips of dried mushrooms – surprisingly the tastiest dish of the meal!; Restaurante Fabio

A main course of pureed potatoes, several kinds of fresh mushrooms, soft eggs and crumbles and chips of dried mushrooms – surprisingly the tastiest dish of the meal!; Restaurante Fabio Santana, Vegueta (Old Town), Las Palmas, Gran Cararia, Canary Islands

 

A main course of smoked wreckfish on a bed of black (squid ink) noodles and slivered leeks with the sauce being poured on after the dome lid was removed releasing the smoke; Restaurante

A main course of smoked wreckfish on a bed of black (squid ink) noodles and slivered leeks with the sauce being poured on after the dome lid was removed releasing the smoke; Restaurante Fabio Santana, Vegueta (Old Town), Las Palmas, Gran Cararia, Canary Islands

 

A main course of Iberian pork stuffed with Iberian ham and smoked cheese, Restaurante Fabio Santana, Vegueta (Old Town), Las Palmas, Gran Cararia, Canary Islands

A main course of Iberian pork stuffed with Iberian ham and smoked cheese, Restaurante Fabio Santana, Vegueta (Old Town), Las Palmas, Gran Cararia, Canary Islands

 

The chocolate lover_s dessert, Restaurante Fabio Santana, Vegueta (Old Town), Las Palmas, Gran Cararia, Canary Islands

The chocolate lover’s dessert, Restaurante Fabio Santana, Vegueta (Old Town), Las Palmas, Gran Cararia, Canary Islands

 

The Spanish rendition of the Italian Tiramisu with coffee sorbet, Restaurante Fabio Santana, Vegueta (Old Town), Las Palmas, Gran Cararia, Canary Islands

A Spanish rendition of the Italian Tiramisu with coffee sorbet, Restaurante Fabio Santana, Vegueta (Old Town), Las Palmas, Gran Cararia, Canary Islands

 

The weather-beaten facade of an old Spanish-style building in the historic Vegueta district, Las Palmas, Gran Cararia, Canary Islands

The weather-beaten facade of an old Spanish-style building in the historic Vegueta district, Las Palmas, Gran Cararia, Canary Islands

 

Legal Notices: All photographs copyright © 2018 by Richard C. Edwards. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Permission to link to this blog post is granted for educational and non-commercial purposes only.

 

Eat Local: Zass Restaurant at Il San Pietro di Positano Hotel, Positano, Italy

The terrace of Il San Pietro di Positano Hotel, Positano, Italy #1

The terrace of Il San Pietro di Positano Hotel, Positano, Italy #1

 

On the Amalfi Coast, with friends from the ship, we decided on another splurge luncheon at the best known restaurant along the coast — Zass Restaurant at Il San Pietro di Positano Hotel, on the eastern outskirts of Positano. We took a taxi for the short drive (which lasted over an hour due to the terrible traffic jams as cars stopped to allow buses and trucks to navigate the hairpin turns without causing an collision!) from the pier in Amalfi to the village of Positano where we explored on foot before meeting our taxi driver on the (top) edge of town for the drive back east on the Amalfi Drive (the coastal route) to the Il San Pietro di Positano Hotel.  There we were met by several staff members who graciously showed us around the property and sent us down the elevator to the terraced (Michelin-starred) Zass Restaurant where we had a resplendent luncheon overlooking the Amalfi Coast.  Chef Alois Vanlangenaeker oversees a talented staff that works with the freshest local ingredients to produce dishes that are both creative, and delicious and showcase the local ingredients.  A memorable restaurant that is highly recommended (along with the hotel rooms where other friends stayed in advance of our arrival in Amalfi).

 

A view of the town of Positano, looking west, from the terrace of Il San Pietro di Positano Hotel, Positano, Italy #2

A view of the town of Positano, looking west, from the terrace of Il San Pietro di Positano Hotel, Positano, Italy #2

 

The view looking east towards the town of Amalfi from the terrace of Il San Pietro di Positano Hotel, Positano, Italy #3

The view looking east towards the town of Amalfi from the terrace of Il San Pietro di Positano Hotel, Positano, Italy #3

 

The view looking down at the water and nearby wine vineyards from the terrace of Il San Pietro di Positano Hotel, Positano, Italy #4

The view looking down at the water and nearby wine vineyards from the terrace of Il San Pietro di Positano Hotel, Positano, Italy #4

 

Zass Restaurant at Il San Pietro di Positano Hotel, Positano, Italy #5

Zass Restaurant at Il San Pietro di Positano Hotel, Positano, Italy #5

 

Zass Restaurant at Il San Pietro di Positano Hotel, Positano, Italy #6

Zass Restaurant at Il San Pietro di Positano Hotel, Positano, Italy #6

 

Zass Restaurant at Il San Pietro di Positano Hotel, Positano, Italy #7

Zass Restaurant at Il San Pietro di Positano Hotel, Positano, Italy #7

 

“The cuisine of Campania, one of the most appealing Italian cuisines, is served at this restaurant [Zass Restaurant at Il San Pietro di Positano Hotel].  It has a creative touch and exploits the full intensity of its colours and flavours.  A dream come true thanks to the terrace overlooking the sea.” — www.viamichelin.com

 

Zass Restaurant at Il San Pietro di Positano Hotel, Positano, Italy #8

Zass Restaurant at Il San Pietro di Positano Hotel, Positano, Italy #8

 

Zass Restaurant at Il San Pietro di Positano Hotel, Positano, Italy #9

Zass Restaurant at Il San Pietro di Positano Hotel, Positano, Italy #9

 

Zass Restaurant at Il San Pietro di Positano Hotel, Positano, Italy #10

Zass Restaurant at Il San Pietro di Positano Hotel, Positano, Italy #10

 

Zass Restaurant at Il San Pietro di Positano Hotel, Positano, Italy #11

Zass Restaurant at Il San Pietro di Positano Hotel, Positano, Italy #11

 

Zass Restaurant at Il San Pietro di Positano Hotel, Positano, Italy #12

Zass Restaurant at Il San Pietro di Positano Hotel, Positano, Italy #12

 

Zass Restaurant at Il San Pietro di Positano Hotel, Positano, Italy #13

Zass Restaurant at Il San Pietro di Positano Hotel, Positano, Italy #13

 

Zass Restaurant at Il San Pietro di Positano Hotel, Positano, Italy #14

Zass Restaurant at Il San Pietro di Positano Hotel, Positano, Italy #14

 

Zass Restaurant at Il San Pietro di Positano Hotel, Positano, Italy #15

Zass Restaurant at Il San Pietro di Positano Hotel, Positano, Italy #15

 

Zass Restaurant at Il San Pietro di Positano Hotel, Positano, Italy #16

Zass Restaurant at Il San Pietro di Positano Hotel, Positano, Italy #16

 

Zass Restaurant at Il San Pietro di Positano Hotel, Positano, Italy #17

Zass Restaurant at Il San Pietro di Positano Hotel, Positano, Italy #17

 

Legal Notices: All photographs copyright © 2018 by Richard C. Edwards. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Permission to link to this blog post is granted for educational and non-commercial purposes only.

 

Eat Local: Acqua Pazza, Ponza, Italy

Luigi Pesce's Acqua Pazza is Ponza, Italy's leading gourmet restaurant, situated in its scenic port with views of the sea from the outdoor terrace

Luigi Pesce’s Acqua Pazza is Ponza, Italy’s leading gourmet restaurant, situated in its scenic port with views of the sea from the outdoor terrace

 

With friends from the ship, we decided to splurge and enjoy the Michelin-starred restaurant in Ponza for a delightful luncheon. “Luigi Pesce’s Acqua Pazza is Ponza’s leading gourmet restaurant, situated in its scenic port with views of the sea from the outdoor terrace. The owner-chef celebrates the island’s produce in his imaginative cuisine, from raw fish dishes to the acqua pazza (fish poached in a tomato sauce) from which the restaurant takes its name.” — www.viamichelin.com/web/Restaurant/PONZA

 

Luncheon at Acqua Pazza, Ponza, Italy #1

Luncheon at Acqua Pazza, Ponza, Italy #1

 

Little Known Fact: The term acqua pazza, which literally means “crazy water” in Italian, was coined in Ponza at the iconic Acqua Pazza restaurant where the recipe for the lightly herbed broth made of fresh tomatoes, olives and capers used to poach white fish, was created

 

Luncheon at Acqua Pazza, Ponza, Italy #2

Luncheon at Acqua Pazza, Ponza, Italy #2

 

Luncheon at Acqua Pazza, Ponza, Italy #3

Luncheon at Acqua Pazza, Ponza, Italy #3

 

Luncheon at Acqua Pazza, Ponza, Italy #4

Luncheon at Acqua Pazza, Ponza, Italy #4

 

Luncheon at Acqua Pazza, Ponza, Italy #5

Luncheon at Acqua Pazza, Ponza, Italy #5

 

Luncheon at Acqua Pazza, Ponza, Italy #6

Luncheon at Acqua Pazza, Ponza, Italy #6

 

Luncheon at Acqua Pazza, Ponza, Italy #7

Luncheon at Acqua Pazza, Ponza, Italy #7

 

Luncheon at Acqua Pazza, Ponza, Italy #8

Luncheon at Acqua Pazza, Ponza, Italy #8

 

Legal Notices: All photographs copyright © 2018 by Richard C. Edwards. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Permission to link to this blog post is granted for educational and non-commercial purposes only.

 

Hiking on Elba (island), Italy and Eat Local: Osteria del Noce, Marciana Alta, Elba

The slopes of Elba’s highest peak, Monte Capanne

The slopes of Elba’s highest peak, Monte Capanne, were the setting for a round-trip, guided hike from Marciana Alta, the island’s loftiest village, Elba (island), Italy; the yellow “baskets” on the slope are the gondola servicing the peak (hidden in the morning clouds)

 

A small group of us from the ship, accompanied by a local hiking guide, journeyed to the western mountains on Elba for a day’s outing.  The slopes of Elba’s highest peak were the setting for a round-trip, guided hike from Marciana Alta, the island’s loftiest village.  The trailhead was about an hour’s drive from the pier, on the northern side of Monte Capanne, the island’s highest mountain.  We hiked across green fields in the Pedalta Valley and into a forest of chestnut and holm oak trees, eventually making our way uphill to the Hermitage of San Cerbone, about 1,740 feet (530 m) above sea level.  Built by the Benedictines around 1421 A.D., the small church was restored in 1993.  Although our trek did not reach Capanne’s peak, we had panoramic views of Elba and the seaside village of Marciana Marina and passed under the gondala for hikers going up to the top of the mountain.  After hiking up approximately 3 miles (5 km), we headed back down to the medieval village of Marciana Alta, passing by the Pisan Fortress. In Marciana Alta we had a multi-course feast of a luncheon at Osteria del Noce, specializing in local seafood and pasta.  We ordered local wines and the local specialties, particularly the homemade pastas.  Everything was delicious and we were quite impressed with the quality of all the dishes, high up in the mountains.  The quantities certainly were right for our group, too, famished after a long morning of hiking on Mount Capanne.  We probably consumed more calories that we burned off that morning – par for the course in Italy!

 

The hiking trail went up through a forest of chestnut and holm oak trees, Elba (island), Italy

The hiking trail went up through a forest of chestnut and holm oak trees, Elba (island), Italy

 

Our hike afforded excellent views of the island and the Mediterranean Sea, Elba (island), Italy; the coastal town is Marciana Marina

Our hike afforded excellent views of the island and the Mediterranean Sea, Elba (island), Italy; the coastal town is Marciana Marina

 

As we descended Monte Capanna into the hillside village of Marciana Alta, we passed by the Pisan Fortreess, Elba (island), Italy

As we descended Monte Capanna into the hillside village of Marciana Alta, we passed by the Pisan Fortreess, Elba (island), Italy

 

To begin our small hiking group luncheon at Osteria del Noce, Marciana Alta, Elba, Italy, we were served some homemade bread with a nice bottle of local vino rosso (Red wine) – grown a

To begin our small hiking group luncheon at Osteria del Noce, Marciana Alta, Elba, Italy, we were served some homemade bread with a nice bottle of local vino rosso (Red wine) – grown and produced in town (Marciana Alta)

 

Lightly fried local sardines with a pine nut sauce was a starter in our luncheon at Osteria del Noce, Marciana Alta, Elba, Italy

Lightly fried local sardines with a pine nut sauce was a starter in our luncheon at Osteria del Noce, Marciana Alta, Elba, Italy

 

Squid and bean salad, luncheon at Osteria del Noce, Marciana Alta, Elba, Italy

Squid and bean salad, luncheon at Osteria del Noce, Marciana Alta, Elba, Italy

 

Tomatoes topped with thin slices of tuna, luncheon at Osteria del Noce, Marciana Alta, Elba, Italy

Tomatoes topped with thin slices of tuna, luncheon at Osteria del Noce, Marciana Alta, Elba, Italy

 

Fresh clams, luncheon at Osteria del Noce, Marciana Alta, Elba, Italy

Fresh clams, luncheon at Osteria del Noce, Marciana Alta, Elba, Italy

 

Steamed mussels, luncheon at Osteria del Noce, Marciana Alta, Elba, Italy

Steamed mussels, luncheon at Osteria del Noce, Marciana Alta, Elba, Italy

 

Linguine with a tomato fresh crab sauce, luncheon at Osteria del Noce, Marciana Alta, Elba, Italy

Linguine with a tomato fresh crab sauce, luncheon at Osteria del Noce, Marciana Alta, Elba, Italy

 

Spaghetti with fresh clams, mussels and tomatoes, luncheon at Osteria del Noce, Marciana Alta, Elba, Italy

Spaghetti with fresh clams, mussels and tomatoes, luncheon at Osteria del Noce, Marciana Alta, Elba, Italy

 

Homemade linguine with truffles, luncheon at Osteria del Noce, Marciana Alta, Elba, Italy

Homemade linguine with truffles, luncheon at Osteria del Noce, Marciana Alta, Elba, Italy

 

A local Tuscan special pasta, trofie (corkscrew-shaped pasta), in a tomato sauce, luncheon at Osteria del Noce, Marciana Alta, Elba, Italy

A local Tuscan special pasta, trofie (corkscrew-shaped pasta), in a tomato sauce, luncheon at Osteria del Noce, Marciana Alta, Elba, Italy

 

Legal Notices: All photographs copyright © 2018 by Richard C. Edwards. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Permission to link to this blog post is granted for educational and non-commercial purposes only.

 

Eat and Drink Local: Azienda Agricola Le Macchiole (winery), Bolgheri, Italy

Le Macchiole (winery) is in Bolgheri, Italy, on the Etruscan Coast -- “in this magical place, where rolling hills are blanketed by forest, where vineyards and olive trees meet with the

Le Macchiole (winery) is in Bolgheri, Italy, on the Etruscan Coast — “in this magical place, where rolling hills are blanketed by forest, where vineyards and olive trees meet with the Tyrrhenian Sea”

 

From our dock in the port of Livorno, a small group of us drove an hour south to the beautiful Bolgheri wine region on the west coast of Italy.  Bolgheri (also the name of the central town in the region) is the newest wine region in Italy and has become very successful over the past few decades, producing some excellent wines, usually in small quantities.  Our first stop was at Le Macchiole (winery) where we had a wonderful personal tour, wine tasting and luncheon.  Many thanks to our hostess, Veronica, and Chef Gionata d’Alessi of Io Cucion Restaurant in Bibbona (a municipality in the Province of Livorno and the chef’s birthplace) for an outstanding meal.

 

The vineyards of Le Macchiole (winery), Bolgheri, Italy

The vineyards of Le Macchiole (winery), Bolgheri, Italy

 

The winery production uses very contemporary, state-of-the-art equipment at Le Macchiole (winery), Bolgheri, Italy

The winery production uses very contemporary, state-of-the-art equipment at Le Macchiole (winery), Bolgheri, Italy

 

“A living legend, Le Macchiole is today recognized as one of Tuscany’s finest wine estates.  Indeed, Le Macchiole is lauded as much for the consistency and quality of its wines, as it is for opening doors and increasing the sex appeal of the once little known Bolgheri region.

It began with a dream of one very special couple – Eugenio Campolmi and his wife Cinzia Merli. Living a comfortable life running Eugenio’s parents’ retail business, they longed to make wine in Tuscany, and set about exploring the region to discover the perfect site for their ambitions.

In 1983, Eugenio and Cinzia came across a special piece of land in the then largely unheard-of Bolgheri region, just 5 miles from the coast.  It was love at first sight – they planted several hectares of international varieties and produced their first vintage in 1987.  Released in 1989, the inaugural Paleo Rosso was received to universal critical acclaim, validating the couple’s pioneering strategy of making varietal wines in the Bolgheri coastline.  Critics praised the power, elegance and above all the remarkable concentration inherent to their wines, which has only improved since the initial releases.

Sadly, however, Eugenio died in 2002, leaving his widow Cinzia and her brother Massimo to continue his pioneering work and forge a legacy worthy of the family name.  Understanding and enhancing their unique terroir has been the overriding aim, with a painstaking amount of work going into vineyard management and matching a particular variety of vine to a special place.

But, as anyone who has sampled these delicious wines will testify, the rewards have more than justified the team’s hard work.  Today, Le Macchiole continues to make some of the greatest wines in the region, characterized by their balance, finesse and yet intense aromas and complexity.  Accessible on release, the wines will age gracefully for many years.” — www.cellartours.com/italy/italian-wineries/le-macchiole

 

One of the Corten steel frames set up in the vineyards of Le Macchiole (winery), Bolgheri, Italy, by the family owners as part of their “Messorio04Bolgheri” project

One of the Corten steel frames set up in the vineyards of Le Macchiole (winery), Bolgheri, Italy, by the family owners as part of their “Messorio04Bolgheri” project: “We would like those who visit our winery, walk through the town’s streets, cycle or drive along Via Bolgherese, to feel the urge to stop, relax and take in the beauty of the landscape around them, through the frames showcasing [the Nobel Prize in Literature winning Italian poet] Giosuè Carducci’s [1835-1907] best-loved sites.  We would like them to feel part of a wonderful place, just even for a moment, recite the Poet’s verses, open their eyes and heart to beauty.  This is what we wish for, and this is why we donated the frames to the people of Castagneto and Bolgheri and to all those who would like to come and enjoy the beauty of our land.”

 

“It was 2012, and I had been working for Le Macchiole for barely a year when Cinzia told me that she had a project in mind that would help promote the town of Castagneto Carducci: forty-eight 6-liter Magnum bottles of Messorio 2004 — an extraordinary vintage, even unique in some respects — up for sale.  ‘How about doing something with the proceeds from the sale- she said- to help our area?’  I thought it over for a few days.  Then I suddenly remembered myself as a child going to markets with my uncle, a street vendor, in his white truck and driving along the road to Volterra.  Every single time, my eye was attracted to an old, empty billboard frame on the side of the road near Ponteginori.  It was somehow ugly and fascinating at the same time: it framed the landscape perfectly, and never the same landscape.  Always different views, depending on the angle of vision, the time of the day, the season of the year.  And so, a sunset sky was not only beautiful: all it took was a rusty frame to make it a beautiful, framed sunset sky.  Basically, a work of art.  So I said to myself: why shouldn’t we do the same thing?  After all, Carducci used to come to Bolgheri to observe the landscape.  Well, yes, his beloved grandmother was there, waiting for him, but he gained inspiration for his poetry by contemplating the natural beauty of our land.  Magnificent landscapes, sweet hills and sunsets.  I was thinking of maxi frames, framing some of the town’s loveliest views, made of Corten steel, a metal which has a rust-like appearance and, besides bringing me back to my childhood memories, oozes with history and tradition.  And then I came up with the idea of doing it in the 16:9 format, which is the international standard format for multimedia, allowing passers-by and tourists to take a picture and post it on social media with the hashtag #messorio04bolgheri.  No two photos of the same place will ever look the same, with the background constantly changing, whether because of a cloud, the sunlight, a nuance or the sky a different shade of blue.  And, who knows?  Maybe someone, though unaware of it, will be lucky enough to see exactly what the Poet saw.” — Antonio Sanna

 

Primo (first course) Raviolino di Pappa al Pomodoro e Burrata (small raviolis filled with tomato soup and Burrata cheese); luncheon at Le Macchiole (winery), Bolgheri, Italy, served with

Primo (first course) Raviolino di Pappa al Pomodoro e Burrata (small raviolis filled with tomato soup and Burrata cheese); luncheon at Le Macchiole (winery), Bolgheri, Italy, served with Bolgheri Rosso (Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah) 2016

 

Secondo (second course) Filettino de Agnello con Pancetta e Misticanza (pancetta-wrapped lamb fillet with Mesculin salad), luncheon at Le Macchiole (winery), Bolgheri, Italy, served with

Secondo (second course) Filettino de Agnello con Pancetta e Misticanza (pancetta-wrapped lamb fillet with Mesculin salad), luncheon at Le Macchiole (winery), Bolgheri, Italy, served with Paleo Rosso (100% Cabernet Franc) 2014 and Scrio (100% Syrah) 2009 and Messorio (100% Merlot) 2011

 

Cheese Selection with homemade bread, luncheon at Le Macchiole (winery), Bolgheri, Italy, served with Messorio (100% Merlot) 2002 (celebrating our ship_s launching year!)

Cheese Selection with homemade bread, luncheon at Le Macchiole (winery), Bolgheri, Italy, served with Messorio (100% Merlot) 2002 (celebrating our ship’s launching year!)

 

A close up of the Messorio (100% Merlot) 2002 (celebrating our ship_s launching year!) and cheese at our luncheon at Le Macchiole (winery), Bolgheri, Italy_

A close up of the Messorio (100% Merlot) 2002 (celebrating our ship’s launching year!) and cheese at our luncheon at Le Macchiole (winery), Bolgheri, Italy

 

Dolci (dessert) Crostatina con spuma al Mascarpone e fondente (Chocolate Mascarpone mousse tart), luncheon at Le Macchiole (winery), Bolgheri, Italy

Dolci (dessert) Crostatina con spuma al Mascarpone e fondente (Chocolate Mascarpone mousse tart), luncheon at Le Macchiole (winery), Bolgheri, Italy

Legal Notices: All photographs copyright © 2018 by Richard C. Edwards. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Permission to link to this blog post is granted for educational and non-commercial purposes only.

 

 

Eat Local: Il Tegolo Champagneria-Crudite’, Livorno, Italy

After a long walk around central Livorno, we had a late lunch at the highly rated Il Tegolo Champagneria-Crudite_, specializing in local Italian seafood; Livorno, Italy

After a long walk around central Livorno, we had a late lunch at the highly rated Il Tegolo Champagneria-Crudite’, specializing in local Italian seafood; Livorno, Italy

 

Although hard to find, as Il Tegolo Champagneria-Crudite’ is tucked into the back corner of Piazza Garibaldi near the waterways of Nuovo Venezia (New Venice) in central Livorno, Italy, the search was well worth it.  We arrived after a long walk around central Livorno for a late lunch.  The restaurant specializes in Italian seafood. Everything we had was delicious and prepared with really fresh, local ingredients.  Highly recommended!

 

A seafood appetizer, Il Tegolo Champagneria-Crudite_, Livorno, Italy

A seafood appetizer, Il Tegolo Champagneria-Crudite’, Livorno, Italy

 

A fish mouse appetizer, Il Tegolo Champagneria-Crudite_, Livorno, Italy

A fish mouse appetizer, Il Tegolo Champagneria-Crudite’, Livorno, Italy

 

For our main course, we shared a delicious langoustine pasta, Il Tegolo Champagneria-Crudite_, Livorno, Italy

For our main course, we shared a delicious langoustine pasta, Il Tegolo Champagneria-Crudite’, Livorno, Italy

 

The simplest of desserts – homemade cantucci (Italian almond cookies) with the local ponce (rum and espresso), Il Tegolo Champagneria-Crudite_, Livorno, Italy

The simplest of desserts – homemade cantucci (Italian almond cookies) with the local ponce (rum and espresso), Il Tegolo Champagneria-Crudite’, Livorno, Italy

 

After lunch at Il Tegolo Champagneria-Crudite_ in Livorno, Italy, we returned to the Port of Livorno where our ship was docked; that evening we cooked dinner from the fresh ingredients

After lunch at Il Tegolo Champagneria-Crudite’ in Livorno, Italy, we returned to the Port of Livorno where our ship was docked; that evening we cooked dinner from the fresh ingredients we purchased earlier in the day at the Mercado Centrale

 

Lightly fried, fresh zucchini flowers stuffed with ricotta cheese were the appetizer for our homemade dinner in our apartment on the ship, docked in Livorno, Italy

Lightly fried, fresh zucchini flowers stuffed with ricotta cheese were the appetizer for our homemade dinner in our apartment on the ship, docked in Livorno, Italy

 

Cheese filled ravioli with local pesto and Parmesan cheese – all sourced at the Mercado Centrale -- for our homemade dinner in our apartment on the ship, docked in Livorno, Italy

Cheese filled ravioli with local pesto and Parmesan cheese – all sourced at the Mercado Centrale — for our homemade dinner in our apartment on the ship, docked in Livorno, Italy

 

Veal scallopini Marsala with fresh Romano beans – all sourced at the Mercado Centrale -- for our homemade dinner in our apartment on the ship, docked in Livorno, Italy

Veal scallopini Marsala with fresh Romano beans – all sourced at the Mercado Centrale — for our homemade dinner in our apartment on the ship, docked in Livorno, Italy

 

Legal Notices: All photographs copyright © 2018 by Richard C. Edwards. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Permission to link to this blog post is granted for educational and non-commercial purposes only.

 

Eat local: Hemelse Modder, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Situated in the historic harbor neighborhood of Amsterdam, The Netherlands, fronting on a canal, restaurant Hemelse Modder serves delicious Dutch-European dishes for dinner

Situated in the historic harbor neighborhood of Amsterdam, The Netherlands, fronting on a canal, restaurant Hemelse Modder serves delicious Dutch-European dishes for dinner

 

A couple of years ago when we visited Amsterdam we tried a local Dutch restaurant with a European sensitivity that was highly recommended by a friend who used to visit the city frequently on business.  We and our friends had an excellent dinner and we decided this year to bring some new friends to join us for dinner back at Hemelse Modder, located only a 10-minute walk from Amsterdam Centraal (the train station by the Amstel River).  To our surprise, the weather was unseasonably warm and dry, so the restaurant was offering a few tables out back on their terrace.  We had another delicious, leisurely dinner made from excellent fresh local products, prepared in modern adaptations of classic Dutch recipes.  We also enjoyed wine pairings selected by the chef that nicely complimented our various dishes.  All in all, another wonderful evening in Amsterdam.

 

A first course salad at Hemelse Modder, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

A first course salad at Hemelse Modder, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

 

A first course of local fish (a "Halibut Bombe") and seafood, Hemelse Modder, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

A first course of local fish (a “Halibut Bombe”) and seafood, Hemelse Modder, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

 

“On a short city trip it is hard to find a restaurant which represents the feeling of that city – one that makes you feel welcome, offers good food and terrific wines.  Hemelse Modder is that restaurant in Amsterdam.  You can find us close to the Central Station in a quiet neighborhood, and situated on a beautiful canal.  The bright and open space exudes the spirit of the times, and the warm atmosphere attracts a mix of local and international visitors.  Guests can enjoy seasonal dishes in three, four or five courses.  The ingredients list is motivated by love for good food and for everything that lives and grows.  We’re open for dinner, seven days a week.” – www.hemelsemodder.nl/en/

 

A first course of herring tartar with sliced red beets (a classic Dutch combination), Hemelse Modder, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

A first course of herring tartar with sliced red beets (a classic Dutch combination), Hemelse Modder, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

 

I also had a soup course, here the local fish soup (reinterpreted from France) with rouille, Hemelse Modder, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

I also had a soup course, here the local fish soup (reinterpreted from France) with rouille, Hemelse Modder, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

 

Local plaice with mussels and local greens (samphire), Hemelse Modder, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Local plaice with mussels and local greens (samphire), Hemelse Modder, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

 

Dutch fries with mayonnaise (more like aioli), Hemelse Modder, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Dutch fries with mayonnaise (more like aioli), Hemelse Modder, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

 

Fresh local cod with a vegetable “crust” served on greens, with potatoes, Hemelse Modder, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Fresh local cod with a vegetable “crust” served on greens, with potatoes, Hemelse Modder, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

 

The post sunset view along the canal in front of Hemelse Modder, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, as we walked back to Amsterdam Centraal for a ride back to our ship

The post sunset view along the canal in front of Hemelse Modder, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, as we walked back to Amsterdam Centraal for a ride back to our ship

 

Legal Notices: All photographs copyright © 2018 by Richard C. Edwards.  All Rights Reserved Worldwide.  Permission to link to this blog post is granted for educational and non-commercial purposes only.

 

Eat local: Restauracja Sasiedzi, Kazimierz, Kraków, Poland

The entrance to Restauracja Sasiedzi, Kazimierz, Kraków, Poland, established in 2010 with chefs specializing in Polish cuisine and a very helpful staff

The entrance to Restauracja Sasiedzi, Kazimierz, Kraków, Poland, established in 2010 with chefs specializing in Polish cuisine and a very helpful staff

 

When a good friend from Romania heard that we would be visiting Krakow, he highly recommended that while in Kazimierz (the Jewish District) we eat at one of his favorite Polish restaurants, Restauracja Sasiedzi.  It turned out to be in the heart of Kazimierz, near some of the synagogues and other sights we visited.  The restaurant was established in 2010 with chefs specializing in Polish cuisine.  The staff was very professional and our waiter, speaking good English, was quite helpful navigating the menu of local favorites.  While we tried several local specialties, we did pass on the “Sirloin steak of horse with mashed potatoes and salad with cherry tomatoes”.  The restaurant is recommended by the Michelin Guide. We had a delicious lunch there.

 

The Michelin guide reviewer summed things up pretty well for Restauracja Sasiedzi, Kazimierz, Kraków, Poland

The Michelin guide reviewer summed things up pretty well for Restauracja Sasiedzi, Kazimierz, Kraków, Poland

 

Restauracja Sasiedzi, Kazimierz, Kraków, Poland, has indoor dining rooms, a covered patio (where we dined) and tables on the terrace which would be terrific in good weather

Restauracja Sasiedzi, Kazimierz, Kraków, Poland, has indoor dining rooms, a covered patio (where we dined) and tables on the terrace which would be terrific in good weather

 

Our pierogi starter was described (in English) on the menu as “Dumplings like at grandma_s (three types of dumplings, 6 pieces) – they were quite good; Restauracja Sasiedzi, Kazimi

Our pierogi starter was described (in English) on the menu as “Dumplings like at grandma’s (three types of dumplings, 6 pieces) – they were quite good; Restauracja Sasiedzi, Kazimierz, Kraków, Poland; [Pierogi – Polish dumplings — also known as varenyky, are filled dumplings of Eastern European origin made by wrapping unleavened dough around a savory or sweet filling and cooking in boiling water]

For a main dish we enjoyed “Duck [confit] with apples, Old Polish style with pearl barley [kasha] and cabbage czerwony (red cabbage salad, not pictured)”; Restauracja Sasiedzi, Kazim

For a main dish we enjoyed “Duck [confit] with apples, Old Polish style with pearl barley [kasha] and cabbage czerwony (red cabbage salad, not pictured)”; Restauracja Sasiedzi, Kazimierz, Kraków, Poland

For our other main dish we had a local specialty, Placki po Cyygańsku (Gypsy style potato pancakes – on the bottom, not visible – with beef goulash and sour cream and onions); Rest

For our other main dish we had a local specialty, Placki po Cyygańsku (Gypsy style potato pancakes – on the bottom, not visible – with beef goulash and sour cream and onions); Restauracja Sasiedzi, Kazimierz, Kraków, Poland

 

Legal Notices: All photographs copyright © 2018 by Richard C. Edwards.  All Rights Reserved Worldwide.  Permission to link to this blog post is granted for educational and non-commercial purposes only.

 

Eat local: Restaurant Terasa U Zlaté studně, Prague, Czech Republic

Restaurant Terasa U Zlaté studně, Prague, Czech Republic, is located just below Prague Castle and has an outstanding view of the city and the Vltava River and Old Town, beyond, from

Restaurant Terasa U Zlaté studně, Prague, Czech Republic, is located just below Prague Castle and has an outstanding view of the city and the Vltava River and Old Town, beyond, from the terrace where we dined al fresco

 

From our hotel in Old Town, Prague, Czech Republic, our friends and we walked across the Charles Bridge to the neighborhood below Prague Castle (which is referred to as the Hradčany district) where we enjoyed an excellent dinner at Restaurant Terasa U Zlaté studně on the terrace (4th floor) of the Golden Well Hotel.  From the terrace the view certainly lived up to the billing of Prague as the “city of a hundred spires.”  The hotel, which dates back to 1528, is situated just below the Royal Gardens of Prague Castle.  The restaurant was extensively renovated in 2008 and has been rated for several years as the best restaurant in the Czech Republic (by Tripadvisor.com) and is highly rated by the Michelin Guide.  The chef, Pavel Sapík, comes from a family from Southern Moravia, where his family had worked as inn-keepers and butchers since the 17th century.

 

From the terrace, the view certainly lived up to the billing of Prague as the “city of a hundred spires”, Restaurant Terasa U Zlaté studně, Prague, Czech Republic

From the terrace, the view certainly lived up to the billing of Prague as the “city of a hundred spires”, Restaurant Terasa U Zlaté studně, Prague, Czech Republic

 

A first course of white asparagus soup, Restaurant Terasa U Zlaté studně, Prague, Czech Republic

A first course of white asparagus soup, Restaurant Terasa U Zlaté studně, Prague, Czech Republic

 

A first course of shrimp in an Oriental broth, Restaurant Terasa U Zlaté studně, Prague, Czech Republic

A first course of shrimp in an Asian broth, Restaurant Terasa U Zlaté studně, Prague, Czech Republic

 

A first course of scallops with asparagus, strawberries, and caviar, Restaurant Terasa U Zlaté studně, Prague, Czech Republic

A first course of scallops with asparagus, strawberries, and caviar, Restaurant Terasa U Zlaté studně, Prague, Czech Republic

 

A first course of foie gras two ways with fruit sorbet and macaroons, Restaurant Terasa U Zlaté studně, Prague, Czech Republic

A first course of foie gras two ways with fruit sorbet and macaroons, Restaurant Terasa U Zlaté studně, Prague, Czech Republic

 

An entrée of lamb loin with fava beans, snow peas, pea puree, white mushrooms and demi-glace, Restaurant Terasa U Zlaté studně, Prague, Czech Republic

An entrée of lamb loin with fava beans, snow peas, pea puree, white mushrooms and demi-glace, Restaurant Terasa U Zlaté studně, Prague, Czech Republic

 

An entrée of duck breast with gnocchi and vegetables, Restaurant Terasa U Zlaté studně, Prague, Czech Republic

An entrée of duck breast with gnocchi and vegetables, Restaurant Terasa U Zlaté studně, Prague, Czech Republic

 

After dinner, the view of the city from Restaurant Terasa U Zlaté studně, Prague, Czech Republic, included the full moon – a fitting conclusion to a wonderful evening

After dinner, the view of the city from Restaurant Terasa U Zlaté studně, Prague, Czech Republic, included the full moon – a fitting conclusion to a wonderful evening

 

Legal Notices: All photographs copyright © 2018 by Richard C. Edwards.  All Rights Reserved Worldwide.  Permission to link to this blog post is granted for educational and non-commercial purposes only.

 

Drink local, Eat local: The Wachau and Jamek Estate Winery, Vienna, Austria

We sailed on a river boat along the Danube River in the Wachau wine-growing region, Austria; this small town along the river has a beautiful church built under towering medieval ruins

We sailed on a river boat along the Danube River in the Wachau wine-growing region, Austria; this small town along the river has a beautiful church built under towering medieval ruins

 

From Vienna we spent one day exploring the region along the Danube River to the west. We drove to Dürstein in the Wachau wine-growing region — only 12 miles (19.3 km) long — and took a river cruise on one of the scheduled public boats to the west to Spitz, which marks the end of the Wachau.  We had arranged for a driver to pick us up there and take us back to the east to explore a little and then arrive at the Jamek estate in Joching for a wine tasting and luncheon on their beautiful terrace, overlooking the Jamek vineyards.  It is one of the leading estates in the Wachau region that now has 232 wineries in Austria’s smallest wine region.  Wines have been produced in the area since the Romans, and the monasteries at the beginning of the 10th century constructed many of the terraces used to plant the vineyards, making the Wachau an historic cultural landscape.

 

Each small town along the Danube had a church that dominated the skyline, Wachau wine-growing region, Austria

Each small town along the Danube had a church that dominated the skyline, Wachau wine-growing region, Austria

 

We ended our river cruise in the town of Spitz, Wachau wine-growing region, Austria

We ended our river cruise in the town of Spitz, Wachau wine-growing region, Austria

 

“The Wachua is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and region of natural beauty, and lies in the Danube valley between the towns of Melk and Krems.  The wine grape varieties Grüner Veltliner and Riesling prevail on 1,344 hectares, partly on very steep-inclined terraces.  The best vineyard sites produce some of the best white wine in the world with decades of aging potential…  The Wachau is one of Austria’s most exciting and fascinating wine regions.  Over millions of years, the Danube has gorged its winding waterway through the consolidated gneiss and amphibolite.  The crystalline rock soils on steep terraces produce outstanding Rieslings.  During the Ice Age vegetation cover was poor and, prevailing winds carried drifting sand that settled in the lee of the east-facing crystalline hillsides, resulting in layers of loess.  This is where great, opulent and expressive Grüner Veltliner is cultivated.  The extremely diverse geological terrain, coupled with the construction of terraces in the best aspects, and the cultivation of vines on these steep inclines by the Bavarian monasteries during the Middle Ages, has resulted in a spectacular and unique Wachau landscape.” – www.austrianwine.com

 

Before setting off for the Jamek Estate Winery, we climbed a gentle walk up to the church in Spitz, Wachau wine-growing region, Austria

Before setting off for the Jamek Estate Winery, we climbed a gentle walk up to the church in Spitz, Wachau wine-growing region, Austria

 

The estate house at the Jamek Estate Winery, Joching, Austria, dating back over 100 years

The estate house at the Jamek Estate Winery, Joching, Austria, dating back over 100 years

 

“Embedded in the romantic landscape of the Wachau region [in Joching] and right next to the Danube [River], the classic Jamek estate is surrounded by vineyards and a few apricot trees.  A beautiful place, just perfect for enjoying. A competent team of committed people fulfills every culinary desire.  This is how the Jamek estate became an institution which enjoys great popularity in Austria and abroad – and for many years now…  Built under the name “Hotel Wachau” in 1912, this estate represents the epitome of successful hospitality.  Four generations, whose greatest desire has always been to please visitors to the Wachau region by offering the highest possible quality…  Delicious wines and fine food have a long tradition in the Jamek estate.  The family is committed to producing legendary wines such as the Riesling from the famous single vineyard Klaus.  Traditional practices are combined with modern methods in the winery.  Modern technology is a prerequisite for careful vinification, but the traditional ageing in wooden barrels makes the wines attractive…  Our main grape variety is Riesling, which is seconded by Grüner Veltliner.  We also cultivate some Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc), Chardonnay, and Gelber Muskateller, and naturally some red varieties as well: Zweigelt and Spätburgunder (Pinor Noir).  The three quality categories of the Wachau region: 1) Steinfeder: Light and fragrant – maximum of 11% alcohol, 2) Federspiel: Medium bodies Kabinett wines — maximum of 12.5% alcohol, and 3) Smaragd: The most full-bodied wines – at least 12.5% alcohol.” – Jamek estate brochure

 

Vineyards of Jamek Estate Winery, Joching, Austria

Vineyards of Jamek Estate Winery, Joching, Austria

 

New growth on the vineyards in spring at the Jamek Estate Winery, Joching, Austria

New growth on the vineyards in spring at the Jamek Estate Winery, Joching, Austria

 

The Jamek Estate Winery labels feature the estate house, Joching, Austria

The Jamek Estate Winery labels feature the estate house, Joching, Austria

 

Wine tasting of Jamek Estate Winery Grüner Veltliner and Riesling wines, Joching, Austria

Wine tasting of Jamek Estate Winery Grüner Veltliner and Riesling wines, Joching, Austria

 

A standout dish at our luncheon at the Jamek Estate Winery, Joching, Austria, was scallops with fresh spring green asparagus with a side of potatoes

A standout dish at our luncheon at the Jamek Estate Winery, Joching, Austria, was scallops with fresh spring green asparagus with a side of potatoes

 

Legal Notices: All photographs copyright © 2018 by Richard C. Edwards.  All Rights Reserved Worldwide.  Permission to link to this blog post is granted for educational and non-commercial purposes only.